Protected species

Image of Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Great Barrier Reef, QLD, Australia. Image credit Jan-Dirk Hansen

Humpback whale

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority works closely with international, national, state and local agencies in the conservation and protection of biodiversity.

A protected species is a plant or animal that is protected by law and needs special management. Species may be protected at an international, national, state or local level:

In addition, protected species in the Great Barrier Reef are classified as either threatened, iconic or at risk:

  1. A protected species is classified as 'threatened' if its population has declined within and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef
  2. A protected species is classified as 'iconic' if it is one of Australia’s most well-known plants or animals and requires special management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  3. A protected species is classified as 'at risk' if it faces pressure from human-related pressure activities within and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.
Image of Dugong mother and calf. Image credit Chris Jones

Dugong mother and calf

The list of protected species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park includes:

  • Some shells - helmet shells, triton shells, tridacnid clams
  • Some fish - seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons, potato cod, Queensland grouper, barramundi cod, Maori wrasse, all groupers (Epinephelus) more than 100 cm
  • Some sharks - whale shark, grey nurse shark, great white shark, freshwater and green sawfish
  • Sea snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine turtles
  • Birds
  • Seals
  • Whales and dolphins
  • Dugong